Load management is one of the key principles used in physiotherapy when
rehabilitating painful conditions. It is the art of identifying the ‘ideal’ workload for your
current capacity and progressing appropriately and safely. In short, it is making sure
that you’re not doing too much too soon or not doing enough.
Why is load management important?
If you are doing too little, you may lose fitness, become weaker, or not challenge
your body enough to achieve your goals. Similarly, doing too much too soon may
result in problems such as pain flare-ups and delayed recovery.
Load management looks different for each individual and their circumstances. Here
are some examples of what it might look like:
- From running in outdoor terrain 2km 3 times a week to treadmill running twice
- Playing basketball three times to taking a 1-month break to calm down
symptoms and slowly building back up with other means of exercise.
- Going from complete rest to introducing gentle exercise 2-3 times a week.
- Going from rock climbing 4 days a week to climbing twice a week and lifting
weights twice a week.
- Walking 3 times a week to resistance exercises twice a week in addition to the
- Reducing the amount of rehabilitation during the week to account for
unexpected events that may come up in everyday life
Sometimes you may need to take one step backward to take two steps forward.
Other times, you may need to gently push things along to make progress. What we can see is that you can either scale the load up or down with the examples above!
How your physiotherapist can help with load management:
- Help you determine if the activities/exercises you’re currently doing are
currently helpful or unhelpful, or whether they need to be modified.
- Help you determine the right amount of exercise/activity for your current level.
- Guide you to safely progress your exercise/activity to improve your pain and
function and improve your capacity to return to doing the things you enjoy.
- Provide you with the tools to help you apply load management appropriately
so you can have more control in your rehabilitation journey.
If you need help or advice with load management, seek the expertise of our physiotherapists by clicking the booking link on our page.